Marblehead has played Beverly twice so far this season.
Twice they have lost to the unbeaten Panthers.
The Headers know they’ll play at least one more regular season game against Beverly three weeks from today (Jan. 29) in a 7 p.m. tilt at Salem State. And you’d better believe they’d love to face them a fourth time — in a win-or-go-home scenario in the Division 2 North playoffs.
Both clubs are virtual locks to have their postseason dance cards punched soon; Beverly (8-0-1) needs just three points to qualify and could do so as early as Monday when it plays Wakefield at the Talbot Rink in Gloucester. Marblehead (5-3) has a 22-game regular season schedule and thus needs 22 points to qualify, but it shouldn’t require much heavy lifting.
It’s easy to forget that the Headers, in their first season moving up from a Division 3 club to a Division 2 squad, are relatively young with almost half of its roster experiencing a varsity baptism-by-fire this season.
Sure, the team’s four captains (left wing Tom Koopman, center Dean Fader and defensemen Liam Gillis and Trevor Gelineau) are veterans, as is fellow senior forward Erik Powers. Others, such as sophomore twin brothers Matt and Kyle Koopman (a center and defenseman, respectively) and senior goaltenders Harrison Young and Myles Barry earned their varsity stripes a season ago.
The rest of the other starting unit, however (starters meaning 9 forwards, 6 defensemen and 2 goalies), however, are green; two are freshmen (first line right wing Braden Haley and defenseman Alex Delvento) and the others — sophomores Tim Kalinowski, Owen Picariello and Colin Daly up front, junior Bryan Cohn on defense, senior wing Chris Cormier and sophomore P.J. Roy on the blueline— had either limited minutes a year ago or no experience with the big club before December.